Koula Joyce ~ Detroit, Michigan

He Can Be Trusted

 

The youngest of nine children, I grew up in the Detroit area.  My parents were not members of any church, although my siblings and I were baptized as infants in the Greek Orthodox Church.  We were allowed to attend a Sunday School where we learned lessons from the Bible.  When I grew older, I attended various churches with different friends.  I wasn’t looking for peace or answers, only to have a good time with my friends.

One Sunday a friend invited me to the evening service at the place where I went to Sunday School. She called the service a “Gospel” meeting, which means a “Good News” meeting.  I consented and heard two preachers speak about many familiar passages from the Bible.  For the first time in my life, the Bible started making sense, but it was not good news at all.  The speakers explained that sin separates us from God and all sin must be punished and excluded from Heaven.  They further showed from Scripture that we, as sinners, are helpless to rid ourselves of our guilt.  Prior to this I thought little about my sin and its consequences.  Verses I memorized as a child started becoming personal: “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God”  (Romans 3:23); “Your iniquities have separated you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you” (Isaiah 59:2);  “The  wages of Sin  is death.” (Romans 6:23);  “All we like sheep have gone astray”  (Isaiah 53:6);  “All our righteousness are as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6).  No one pointed at me that night, but God’s Word was clear enough: I was in need; I was guilty and on my way to hell. 

I can almost hear you say, “I never want to hear a negative message like that.”  Please think of this analogy when you consider how awful the first part of the Gospel message is – only those who realize they are sick will seek the counsel and treatment of a doctor.  The Lord Jesus Himself said in Mark 2:17, “They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”  The first part of the Gospel message is like the diagnosis, and the second part like the cure. 

Although I didn’t get saved that night, I am thankful that I heard the rest of the Gospel message.  The preachers went on to explain that because we have such a great need, God, in His great love for us, provided a way to make us free from the guilt of our sin forever.  He sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, into this world to live a perfect life, to suffer, to shed His blood, and to die on the cross for our sins.  1 Peter 3:18 says, “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God.”  God also raised Him from the dead, showing that He was satisfied with the work Christ had done on our behalf. 

There was no problem for me to understand that I was a sinner on my way to hell and in need of God’s mercy and salvation.  I believed all of the facts about the life, death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus.  All of this made sense to me, with one exception: I didn’t know how to apply the “cure” to myself.  The Bible says “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31), but I struggled with how much to believe.  The Bible also says, “It is by grace you are saved through faith” (Ephesians 2:8).  I struggled with these thoughts for a few days and then decided that I must already have what the Bible said I needed, since I believed all the facts.  After that night I didn’t go back to the gospel meetings because they still made me feel uncomfortable and I didn’t want to think about it.

A few years later I started thinking about the gospel message again.  I wasn’t quite sure I really had God’s salvation.  When I shared my doubts with a friend of mine, she simply told me that when she trusted Christ, she trusted Him to save her and take her to Heaven, not her believing or her faith.  At that moment it dawned on me that I could trust Christ to take me to heaven and I trusted Him then and there.  Since then I have had peace with God.  I am sure of my eternal destiny, not based on my own merit, but based on the promises of God.

If you have never taken an honest look at yourself in light of what God says in His Word, read the Bible for yourself.  It may be uncomfortable, but unless you see your sinfulness you’ll never see your need for God and His great salvation.  Read the book of Romans or the Gospel of John.  The Lord said in John 6:37, “Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.”